An extremely good news emerged from the University of California today, as an astonishing cancer breakthrough was made with the help of immunotherapy drug known as Keytruda. This specific drug removes the adverse side effects caused by chemotherapy while at the same time combating cancer in a more efficient way.
The patients involved in the study were ones who suffered from lung cancer. The study group was split into two, with one part receiving the chemotherapeutic drug docetaxel while the other was administered pembrolizumab in the form of Keytruda. While dosage remained low, 2mg/kg per dose, the difference between the two drugs’ benefits remained equal. But if Keytruda was administered with an increased dosage, the benefits increased alongside it, with no adverse side effects present.
Keytruda works by creating a targeting protein within the patient’s system. Simply put, this protein helps the immune system distinguish between previously ignored cancer infected cells and healthy cells. Once the diseased cells become targeted, they are eradicated, in the same way that cold or flu gets fought off by the system’s antibodies.
The anti-PD-1 antibody contained by pembrolizumab specifically targets PD-L1 cells which lead to lung cancer. Although chemotherapy will still remain the first applied treatment, Keytruda will be used as a safety net, in case the patient develops resistance towards previously administered treatments.
Pembrolizumab-containing Keytruda has been previously accepted by the Food and Drug Administration back in October, but only for use towards small-cell lung cancer patients. But after the studies stating how this immunotherapeutic drug is effectively better than chemotherapy without major side effects, as well as the recent news that with the help of this drug, former US President Jimmy Carter fought cancer and won, the FDA may expand Keytruda’s use.
But this will become a reality only after extensive clinical trials, as well as conclusive medical studies, are conducted in the coming months of 2016. Because of the prevalence of lung cancer across our planet, one small misstep and we could be possibly facing a massive increase in cancer diagnostics if the disease suffers from slight mutations.
The reason why researchers are attempting to find a better way of fighting against cancer after its diagnosis is the extensive list of side effects stemming from chemotherapeutic drugs. Severe nausea, blood disorders, headaches, mouth and throat sores, and pains are just to name a few. If one would add the fact that pembrolizumab is also considered to be used as a method of prevention in regards to lung cancer, Keytruda becomes an increasingly viable option.
Even though an astonishing cancer breakthrough was made with the help of immunotherapy, with some doctors even claiming that a viable cure for cancer may not be in the realm of fantasy anymore, further inquiries on the effects and benefits of Keytruda have to be made. But this news will nonetheless bring hope to those which currently face a dreaded lung cancer diagnosis, fearing the extensive adverse side effects caused by chemotherapy.